Aug 18, 2022

The Power of Making Micro-Animations a Little “Stranger”

Lauren Sheehan

Lauren Sheehan

The Power of Making Micro-Animations a Little “Stranger”

In preparation for this coming school year, I was recently perusing the sea of back-to-school backpack options for my kids and stumbled upon a post about JanSport’s collaboration with the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things.

My pre-teen is obsessed with this wonderfully nostalgic and, at the same time, twistedly terrifying series. And so am I, even if just for the sake of personal nostalgia—I actually shopped at the “lower-case” Gap, ordered more than my fair share of Orange Juliuses, and had a JanSport backpack.

Small things yes, but my daughter thinks these facts are fascinating. I instantly realize the mom points I’m about to earn if I get her a Hellfire backpack.

As I’m going through the UX flow on the website, I’m hit with such a delightful user interface (UI) micro-animation. It’s so simple, just a little thing, but it makes me laugh out loud. I love it. I think to myself, “Wow the UI designer on this got a split-second interaction with a button so right. So right!” I’m geeking out. I know it. That’s OK.

So here it is: When scrolling through the collection of truly rad Stranger Things backpacks, I hit the SHOP NOW button on the red backpack with the Hellfire Club insignia—and the button text flips just for a second to be, you guessed it, upside down. Upside down!

Backpack 3
Backpack 3

So clever! But here’s the more fascinating thing. That small animation caused literally a flood of positive emotions in me. I was taken back to the episodes I’d recently binged, the thrill of that scene where they figure out how to climb between the two worlds. The fun and edge-of-seat excitement I felt while watching the show is transported to this moment shopping online.

This is a big deal, because instead of a standard, ho-hum ecommerce process, my shopping experience is instantly infused with a much greater sense of connection (I’m in the know, I get it! I get it!), and it’s more fun. And I find myself smiling at JanSport as a brand. They paid attention and took the time to design and code this tiny moment. It’s a moment I’ll remember.

In a cluttered world where brands look for any chance along the customer journey to grab our attention, create more engagement, and frictionlessly push us through to a conversion, details like this example matter big time.

All this to say, infusing moments of unexpected delight, no matter how trivial they may seem—like this millisecond UI micro-animation—has the power to create big impact by:

  • Associating and even transferring positive emotions from other experiences to trigger desired behavior (like clicking to buy).

  • Creating deeper, more individualized connection.

  • Making an experience distinctive because it feels more human and special.

  • Positively impacting brand sentiment.

So well played JanSport, well played. I’m excited to geek out with my experience design team on this one, and big high five to the designer on your end who came up with it. (Don’t even get me started on how you actually sewed your logo patch on the backpacks upside down.)

Experience Design at Credera

We love geeking out on ways to make a company’s customer experiences a little better each time. If you’re interested in talking about us about how thoughtful UX/UI can be leveraged to create truly rad experiences, reach out to us at

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